Candi Ketterman runs hard toward her top 10 finish and a trip to the State Meet. Andrew Krueger, Juneau Empire

Mulvihill rules again from SE mountaintop
Candi Ketterman also earns trip to state meet

JUNEAU – On a wet and windy day, Kyle Mulvihill dusted the competition to win his second straight regional title at the small schools cross country race Sept. 20.
The Skagway junior passed more than 20 runners early in the race and completed the 5-kilometer course in 17 minutes and 44 seconds. He finished almost half a minute ahead of second-place finisher Kyle James of Mt. Edgecumbe, which won the team title.
Rain threatened but the heaviest pitter-patter echoed from the soles of runners on the hard-packed soil of the Sandy Beach ball fields.
Mulvihill sprinted to the front before entering a loop that runners circled several times along the Treadwell Mine Trails. He built a five-second lead after the first turn and increased it to 15 the second time around. The Skagway junior crossed the finish line with a strong kick and a loud yell while blowing away 55 other runners.
“He has great oxygen uptake, I think,” said Juneau-Douglas High School coach Guy Thibodeau, who watched his boys and girls win Class 4A titles. “He’s a very strong runner and looks very athletic.”
Haines coach Heather Lende smiled as Mulvihill won his fourth straight Class 2A/3A race this season.
“He’s like the proverbial dog chasing a car,” Lende said. “Kyle’s a completely instinctive runner. The gun goes off and he doesn’t stop until he crosses the finish line.”
“Kyle ran exactly the way we planned: Stay with the pack for a couple hundreds yards, see how you feel and then make your move,”said his coach, Garrison Trozzo.
Ironically, the boy with a “hill” in his name is inclined toward level ground.
He pushed himself earlier this month on the steep Dyea Road, winning the small schools title in 17:49. Kyle collapsed in a pile after the race and had to be dragged out of the path of other runners.
With the pack well behind him at regionals, Mulvihill wanted to avoid another finish-line meltdown.
“The Juneau course was tough for me and I didn’t really want to risk it too much,” he said.
The hills on the Treadwell loop tore into his teammates.
“I pushed too hard and started getting cramps,” said junior John McCluskey, who finished 15th in 19:05.
“The mountains, they’re very killing,” added Florian Wischnat, a junior exchange student from Germany. He was 45th with a time of 22:21.
Senior Thomas Knorr, running to “stay in shape” for basketball season, finished 51st in 23:47 after losing one of his shoes.
In the girls race, sophomore Candi Ketterman also qualified for this weekend’s state meet in Palmer. She finished a strong eighth with a time of 23:34. Autumn Streuli of Petersburg won the race in 21:40, leading her school to the team title.
Ketterman’s older sister, Crystal, barely missed the cut for state in an exciting finish. The Skagway junior passed two runners down the stretch and almost caught a third, which would have earned her 10th place and a trip to Palmer.
Catching her breath proved harder than catching opponents. After her 11th place finish in 23:58, Ketterman fell to the ground gasping for air. Sophomore Tiffanie Potter came in 13th in 24:13 as her teammate continued to struggle with her sports-induced asthma.
Freshman Leah Moore finished 33rd in 28:43.
“All of our girls ran an excellent race,” Coach Trozzo said. “Candi has been consistent all season. Crystal ran on guts, and as a coach, it makes you proud.”
Ketterman plans to return her senior year, hoping to run better - and breathe better. She knows her asthma is her toughest opponent.
“I get dizzy and can’t breathe in or out,” she said. “It feels like you’re drowning and choking. I’ve got to learn to run with it and pace myself.”
Coach Lende, a multi-sport aerobic athlete, has some advice. While working out three years ago, she suffered an asthma attack that she describes as a “near-death experience.”
Lende learned she’s allergic to alder, cottonwood, spruce trees and dust. Spring and fall - the track and cross country seasons - can be two of the worst times for her condition.
“You can compete in sports with asthma but one doctor told me that you have to treat it like you would something like diabetes,” Lende explained. “I found out there was a whole series of preventative medications you can take that keeps me from seizing up.”
In the Class 4A regional races, Tristan Knutson-Lombardo finished first in 16:48 to lead the Juneau-Douglas boys to the top five places and a perfect team score. Greta Thibodeau, also of JDHS, won the girls race in 19:49.
The Juneau course is comparable - maybe even slightly tougher- to the one in Palmer. With the extra adrenaline of competing at state, Mulvihill and Candi Ketterman could improve their times.
They both recorded season bests Sept. 13 on the flat course in Wrangell: Mulvihill, 17:04, and Ketterman, 22:54.
At last year’s state meet, also in Palmer, Mulvihill finished ninth in 17:51. The winning time in 2002 for the boys was 17:00 and for the girls 19:55.

UPDATE: Kyle Mulvihill took 18th at State, and Ketterman finished 61st. Details in Oct. 10 issue.

Fish This!
Catch & Release Summer

Fishing is a sport of ritual. There is the ritual of organization and preparation for a day on the water. The act of tying a knot can be a ritual of technical finesse. An angler in battle bows repeatedly to an unseen force as he pulls up and reels down.
The actual catch and release of the fish is a ritual with significance. A life hangs in the balance. Careful attention to detail is essential for success.
A hand slips under the belly of the fish, the fingers and thumb putting slight pressure on its flanks. The other hand carefully pushes the hook from the fish’s mouth at just the right angle so as not to tear its soft living tissue. The hand gripping the fish slips back to the tail, grasping it gently. The fish is then manipulated slowly in a back-and-forth motion until the stunned creature swings its tail with the energy of life reborn and in an instant, disappears into the depths below.
The question can then be raised: What will become of this life that was literally in your hands just moments before? The future of this fish is a mystery as deep as the oceans themselves.
It is autumn in Skagway and a bitter chill has displaced our warm, sun-filled days. Termination dust covers colored leaves lying upon the ground that were dancing on branches only days before. Ferries are filling with friends who share our summers in a common goal to work in this wilderness and reap the bounty of the summer tourist season.
It is a time for ritual, the time of release.
Where will they go? What does their winter hold in store?
A few summers ago I met a man who shared my same religious fervor for fishing. He came from the Northeast part of the country so he had a foundation in fishing for some of the species we get here in the Far North. He wanted to catch grayling; he wanted to see a moose.
It can be difficult to find a fishing buddy when you border on fanatical but Josh seemed to understand the cardinal rule: there is a time to talk and a time to fish.
On our first mutual outing we decided to go after big Grayling. I took Josh to a spot where I had caught a 23-inch grayling the year before. (My wife had caught a 24-incher). When we arrived at the spot the grayling were already churning in the water and some of them looked hungry.
Josh was using a brand new rod and reel combo he had purchased just for his fishing adventures in Alaska. It was time to break it in. As we were rigging up we talked about the “curse” of a new rod. You see, sometimes a more superstitious angler can get caught up on the notion that certain lures, rods, reels, hats or just about anything can be lucky or unlucky. It’s a heck of a thing to drop two bills on a new rig wondering all the while if it will have the necessary mojo to actually catch the fish.
Josh dismissed the notion until I was releasing my sixth fish and he was still glaring down at the water waiting for his first strike. Half jokingly I offered him my rig which “in my opinion, is one of the luckiest rod and reels known to man.” Josh leapt at the offer and within seconds of us trading he was reeling up a nice 18-inch fish. We traded back again and suddenly the curse was gone.
That grayling had opened a door in Josh’s psyche and now no grayling would ever be safe again. We kept fish only under the slot limit and that night we enjoyed fresh grayling fried lightly in breadcrumbs with salad and pasta. We talked about some of the fish we released including a 24-inch beauty that Josh tangled with. Josh was a master of the release. He could catch and release a fish and have his line back in the water in what seemed like a flash.
On another outing we decided to hike out to potential fishing spots to the southwest of Log Cabin. As we walked along a windblown ridge that is barely visible with binoculars from the highway, we saw what looked like bones protruding from the soil. Upon closer inspection we saw that it was a full skeleton of a fallen horse. At its feet lay the horseshoes, which it obviously wore when it met its demise.
We wondered aloud of it was possibly from the gold rush era or a more recent historical entry. It was hard to continue walking, the bones lay there so perfect it was easy to imagine this horse walking along this very ridge facing its end in the cold, falling over only to lay there, undisturbed and unknown for years, until two half-crazed anglers stumble on its remains in the middle of nowhere.
Some lives leave behind a story.
We didn’t catch a thing that day. As we made haste back toward the car we were cutting though a wooded area when Josh got his second wish. We saw a moose.
Up close!
I was walking behind Josh a couple feet when he suddenly stops. I look up and he is about six feet from a huge moose who is staring directly at us. Josh, ever calm, whispered back “What do we do?” As there was a small tree in between the animal and us I whispered back to wait patiently and see what the moose does first. For about five minutes the moose would bend over for a mouthful of grass, lift his head, and chew while watching us. I heard Josh whisper: “This is awesome!”
Eventually the moose seemed to get annoyed with our presence so we walked away slowly cutting a new trail back to the car.
There are days planned for fishing that turn into an adventure. When Josh left at the end of the season we made plans for fishing the following summer. Those plans never came to fruition. It was hard to believe when I heard the news over the winter that Josh had been killed in an auto accident. Like so many things here, I thought it must be a rumor. For someone with such respect for life to lose his own seemed like the worst of tragic irony. Josh had been so gracious in his release of fish, so kind in his technique. He never used barbed hooks, never kept a “trophy” fish, and knew when it was best to stop fishing, even if the fish were still biting.
So the season draws to its close yet again and the ritual of release comes around full circle. As our summer friends leave us for another set of months I tend to think less of out of state drivers licenses, seasonal employees’ right to vote, and housing issues and more about how hard it is to release someone when you never know if they will return.
Their winter will remain a mystery to us until the spring brings a time of rebirth, new visitors, old friends, and a cycle that will start anew.

More ‘Dumber’

The “Box of Rockers”, including one who showed more than we can allow unedited, celebrates at the original Upper Lake Cabin. - Wendy Anderson

Box of Rocks draws record field

It was another record turnout for the “Box of Rocks” race to Upper Dewey Lake on Sept. 20. The annual disorganized event continues to become more popular despite efforts to confuse the general population.
Changing the date, charging for the helicopter rides down, and crappy weather didn’t stop 40-plus people from slogging their way up the hill. By 1 p.m. participants realized the ride down wasn’t going to happen. With slightly adjusted attitudes they began sliding back down the hill.
A party at Beth Cline’s house finished off the event.
Bruce Weber, Craig Jennison, and myself will continue to make sure that the event is not very organized. Congratulations to Curt Dodd for the fastest time, 55:53. Thanks to Stew Stevens and Weber for helping me pack up the beverages.
Here are the times and also-rans – see ya next year!

1. Curt Dodd 55:33, 2. Michael Yee 58:00. Ben Seele 1:01:28, Jeremy Simmons 1:02:12, Cory Thole 1:02:45, John Murray 1:08:00, Craig Jennison 1:10:00, Nathan Hartman 1:10:00, Nan Saldi 1:14:00, Cindy Gaddis 1:14:00, Mike Korsmo 1:17:00, Lara Labesky 1:18:20, Dennis Bousson 1:18:29, Jay Mclintock 1:21:00, Mike Moe 1:22:00, Deloni Moe 1:22:00, Ethan Moe 1:22:00, Mike Konsler 1:24:00, Wendy Anderson 1:25:00, Beth Cline 1:25:00, Paul Reichert 1:25:00, Kristin Wilkinson 1:26:20, Julene Fairbanks 1:27:00, Cindy & John O’Daniel 1:30:00, Matt Shierenbeuch 1:40:00, Cherith Whiteman-Reichert 1:42:00, Bruce Weber 1:42:00, Quinn Weber 1:42:00, Joe Covero 1:43:00, Nathan Kaczmorek 1:45:00, Mich. Felber 1:46:00, Tim Ozenne 1:54:00, Mike Govel 1:58:00, Kasandra Moe 2:00:00, Jenny Yaw 2:09:00, Jenny Hough 2:09:00, Karen Mensing 2:19:00, John Briner 2:20:00, Abby Kramer (finished but no time recorded), Pete Overlier DNS (Did Not Stir) , Tim Bourcy DNS (Did Not Start), O.D. SOC (Stuck On Couch), Tim and Rod Fairbanks ATNA (All Talk No Action).